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Hauling soil/mulch up & down stairs  RSS feed

 
Posts: 53
Location: Winters, California
dog greening the desert tiny house
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The house and yard I live in are built into a hill. From the street out front, you have to go down two sets of stairs to reach the back yard. What's the best way to haul piles of soil, mulch, etc up and down stairs?
 
Posts: 90
Location: Minnesota
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Down is easy - make a slide for it to go down

Up becomes a lot harder. How much do you really need to bring up? You could always do something along the lines of a pulley and bucket system.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1984
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
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forest garden trees urban
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Hard to picture your situation exactly, but I have done a lot of earth moving on slopes.
I struggled with buckets, garbage cans and other things, but in the end I used a tarp, filled it with soil and debris, gathered the edges and tied it to the end of a winch line. The slick tarp moved over the muddy, grassy slope better than any wheeled cart. I used stakes and moved my anchor point(work van) to avoid obstacles
My winch was electric, but even a hand winch would provide mechanical advantage.

Alternatively, are there neibors behind you, and if so would it be easier to approach your back yard through their yard?
 
gardener
Posts: 7494
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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I like to load material into flexible, burlap or other bags, for the uphill trip. Small loads of 50 to 75 lbs can be slung over the shoulders. Big bags can be tied and rolled up the stairs.
 
Posts: 44
Location: SW Ohio, 6b, heavy clay prone to hardpan
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I often use tarps and canvas bags, as outlined above. Both can be easier, and less dangerous, than trying to used wheels on a slope.
For lowering heavy loads, there are many belaying/abseiling techniques that work well and are safe if used properly. Do you have any friends into climbing? Also, tree trimmers often use these methods, both for safely climbing and controlled lowering of cut limbs.

Once, we used a heavy, water filled, lawn roller as a counter weight, attached to a rope and run through a pulley anchored around a stout tree. It was very effective, but it required a lot of diligence, heavy rolling weight is a recipe for injury.
But if you have materials to haul in both directions, a rope and pulley and a couple of tarps could do a lot of the work for you if you can match the weights on the two tarps. As you will have both friction and muscle power to assist, the weights don't have to be exact, just somewhat close.

Or might I suggest my favorite heavy moving technique? Provide some beer for a bunch of thirsty friends....available right after we move those rocks other there.
 
Juniper Zen
Posts: 53
Location: Winters, California
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Thanks for the replies so far! I have no experience with pulleys or winches but I'll look into it. Using a tarp to get stuff down into the yard is definitely a better idea than using anything rigid that could slide down of its own accord!

Alternatively, are there neibors behind you, and if so would it be easier to approach your back yard through their yard?


Unfortunately no, there's no access between our yards (sturdy fence with no gate). Plus, they're further down the hill, so it'd still be sloped.
 
Posts: 45
Location: Williams, OR
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My initial thought was to put the material into plastic totes and then use a dolly to move them up the stairs. I like the above ideas better, though!
 
Posts: 944
Location: Graham, Washington [Zone 7b, 47.041 Latitude] 41inches average annual rainfall, cool summer drought
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What size is your backyard? If you can fit some kind of livestock back there [in happy conditions of course] your best bet might be to make soil there.

Rabbits can be great for this in a small space.
 
gardener
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Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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Juniper Zen wrote:The house and yard I live in are built into a hill. From the street out front, you have to go down two sets of stairs to reach the back yard. What's the best way to haul piles of soil, mulch, etc up and down stairs?



My preferred method of moving loose soil/mulch up and down stairs is in buckets. One in each hand. That is, if they are not already bagged. I wouldn't un-bag something just to put it in a bucket.

I think that with that much change in elevation, that I wouldn't be bringing soil or mulch up the hill. Once it goes down, it can stay down as far as I'm concerned.

I used to collect rocks. I always made sure to collect above the road, so that I didn't have to carry buckets of rocks up a hill. I could carry them downhill all day long.


 
Dale Hodgins
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Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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I recently helped get a cut up cell tower base off the top of Mt. Douglas. They were loaded into big bags and hoisted to the parking area by a crane. It cost thousands.
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